by Erica Rocha
Thank you to all who participated in the El Paso Transmountain Cleanup Event this past Saturday. The community’s response was remarkable!
There were 135 volunteers that signed in, plus a bus full of students from America’s High School that were not on the main Highway, but did clean a hiking trail and 6 Constables and deputies keeping us safe. Not to mention the dozens if not hundreds of commuters who drove over the mountain and were faced with a sea of orange vests. Without a doubt the sight left them curious. Some cyclist and hikers that ran into some of the groups stopped to ask what was going on. When informed that there was a huge community cleanup they put in their part and brought trash over to the volunteers.
Volunteers went to great lengths to show up or drop off participants despite the frigid temperature. One volunteer rode his bike up the 5 mile ascent to be able to join the cause. Others organized entire groups of children and youth with parental consent, rides, pick-ups and drop-offs to ensure their participation.
The energy was palpable. Good cheer and incredible willingness to help in any area where there was need was seen throughout the entire event. There were volunteers who used their own vehicles to bring trash bags back to the meeting site and others that made round after round in their pickup trucks collecting heavier, bagful of trash as well as other large debris. When trash bags ran out, volunteers didn’t stop, they waited until more were brought and continued to pick up trash.
In all, the 10 miles stretch between I-10 and US 54 was covered, over 100 bags of trash collected, including larger rubble such as 2 orange construction barrels, car bumpers, sofas cushions, ladders, tires, and other very strange garbage was picked up.
Albertson’s on Redd, Wal-Mart at West Town and Sam’s on Mesa provided a generous amount of snacks and drinks; TxDot provided vests, trash bags and picked up the pile of trash collected and disposed of it. Also, Franklin State Park granted us permission to host this cleanup.
Through it all, the true heroes of the event were every individual, every couple, and every group small or large who made this event possible; and most importantly delivered greater results than I could have ever imagined.
I hope that the impact of this event reaches beyond those who took part in the cleanup. I hope that there is an infectious spirit of pride spread among your friends and family. Although it is a shame that we have to pick up other’s trash, it is truly inspiring to see so many good willed people of all ages come together to leave nature and our city a cleaner and better place.
Below is a small list of groups we were able to confirm participated in one form or another:
Ft. Bliss Soldiers, West Texas Young Marines, Girl Scouts Troop 53020, El Paso Eastside Rotary Club, El Paso Executive Women Lion’s Club, America’s High School, Creosote, Sierra Club, Frontera Land Alliance, Franklin Mountain Wilderness Coalition, Celebration of Our Mountains, Constables, Sergeants and Deputies of Precincts 2, 3 and 7, Franklin Mountain Life, Meet Up EP Hikers, and Border Patrol Explorers.